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Morris Through; Controversy in Shanghai Qualifiers

Ireland’s David Morris continued his promising return to the professional scene by overcoming Elliot Slessor 5-1 in the opening qualifying round for the Shanghai Masters.

This is one of the few events remaining that hasn’t altered its format to include only one qualifying round so Kilkenny’s Morris still has three more potential encounters ahead of him if he is to book a second trip this year to China.

The 24 year-old, of course, reached the quarter-finals of the Wuxi Classic in June, where he recorded a career best victory over Ali Carter in the last 16.

Morris takes on Gerard Greene of Northern Ireland in the next round in Doncaster – the Doncaster Dome being a new venue for snooker this season – a player he also disposed of in Wuxi a couple of months ago.

With the tournaments beginning to come thick and fast from here on in, this is the perfect time for players like Morris to try to build on confidence and embark on a winning streak that will help lift them up the rankings list.

Two players who may or may not have other ideas on that ideology are Thailand’s Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon and Passakorn Suwannawat.

Sadly, both of these players were the cause of much controversy yesterday as the duo appeared to lose their ties under questionable circumstances.

Unusual betting patterns had led to all major bookmakers suspending betting on TT’s clash with Ross Muir – where the Thai was originally overwhelming favourite to win prior to the contest.

The 19 year-old, who in 2010 compiled a 147 maximum break, ended up losing under dismal circumstances 5-0, able to only tally a high break of 22, in a match that was streamed live by World Snooker.

Suwannawat’s match with Mohamed Khairy was a closer affair but also lacked much quality with the latter claiming his first professional victory 5-4 following some interesting shots selections from his opponent.

This isn’t the first time a Thai player has come under some investigation with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh being ultimately cleared of wrong-doing against Steve Davis in a match last year.

After the events, World Snooker released the following statement:

“The WPBSA work with partners to monitor betting on snooker matches.”

“As a result of this we were aware of the unusual betting patterns regarding the matches between Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon and Ross Muir and Passakorn Suwannawat and Mohamed Khairy.

“The WPBSA are liaising with the Gambling Commission to establish the available facts surrounding betting on these matches. A decision will then be made regarding any further action necessary.”

Updates will be posted here if and when they materialise.

The full draw for the Shanghai Masters qualifiers can be viewed by clicking here.



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.